Find your edge: Learn to listen to your body. It is important to be able to feel how far you can comfortably stretch. When practicing in a warm environment, you may find that your muscles can extend a little further. Avoid injury by knowing and honoring your normal range of motion.
Breathe: Breathe deeply and focus your breath. The more air you draw in, the more oxygen will be delivered to your muscles.
After each deep breath, you will feel your body start to open up and stretch a little further as you move into the full expression of a pose. Send your breath to a specific area. For example, in the down-dog position, visualize your breath traveling to the backs of the knees and find a little more space there.
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water before your practice to lubricate your muscles. Sip water as needed during class and be sure to replenish your fluids to flush out toxins.
Disclose your injuries: One of the most important things you can do is let your teacher know of any prior injuries, so that modifications can be offered.
Be here now: Realize that each time you step on your mat, your body has changed. You may not be exactly as you were the last time you practiced. Yoga is not a competition, so try not to compare yourself to others; or to yourself, for that matter.
Lisa-Elena Furrh, Ph.D., is a RYT-200 yoga teacher at Shambhala Wellness, in Denton. For more information, call 940-380-8728 or visit ShambhalaWellness.com.